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"Satisfied customer" responds to anti-smoking zealot

David Hockney – who could be forgiven for having bigger things on his mind – has responded to anti-smoking activist Simon Chapman who was interviewed in the Guardian on Tuesday:

In today's paper Hockney writes:

Why doesn't Mr Chapman debate with a good and satisfied customer of the tobacco companies (Plain packs will make smoking history, 25 January)? Someone who has seen what will replace it as a smoothing, calming contemplative helper. Someone whose friends died of alcohol consumption, not tobacco. Someone who has smoked for nearly as long as he has lived. Someone who knows about the fanatical attitude of haters of tobacco. Someone who is not so naive about advertising and packaging.

Someone who has almost outlived a fanatical anti-smoking father. Someone who is fed up to the teeth with people who think they really know what health is. Someone who is not afraid of the cowardly, crooked politicians who stifle the debate about pleasure in the now. Someone who knows that time is elastic. Someone who knows how easy it is to lie with statistics. Someone who is not a professional agitator, who knows there is no such thing as a professional smoker but knows there are hundreds of dreary, professional, highly paid anti-smokers.

Someone who thinks laughter is good for you as it drains fear from the body. Someone who has something better to do than to try and control the quiet lives of others. Someone who knows we are all a bit different and is fed up with the growing regimentation of people. Someone who knows that smokers can live perfectly average-length lives but heavy drinkers rarely. Someone who is shocked by the growing conformity among people, and what that might mean for a reasonable free society. Someone who prefers the centre of Bohemia to Australian suburbia. Someone who knows we have to die.

David Hockney
Bridlington, East Yorkshire

See The trouble with tobacco haters (Guardian, Letters).

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Reader Comments (1)

I am also someone who has smoked most of her life.

Someone who can remember how good it was to enjoy jolly times with friends in the warm and safe environment of a local pub over a few drinks and a smoke.

Someone who can remember when the local pub had a soul.

Someone who can remember when such an environment was strictly an adult's playground and children were forbidden to witness adult's playtime.

Someone who knows that she will be effectively grounded for the remainder of the winter due to old age and arthritis and therefore denied a social life.

Someone who knows that this is not so much about health but rather an implacable attitude that says: I don't like what you are doing, even if it is legal, and I'm going to stop you!"

Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 13:41 | Unregistered CommenterPensioner Ellie

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